Avoiding Christmas Burnout

It's The Season of Overwhelm: Here’s How To Get Through It Without Burning Out


We’re approaching the *most* time of the year.

The infamous song says, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’.

And that’s true for some people, some of the time.

But not for everyone.

For some of us, it’s:

  • The most… busy time of the year
  • The most… overwhelming time of the year
  • The most… sad time of the year (grief of  having lost loved ones)
  • The most…. triggering time of the year (relationship dynamics are heightened)
  • The most…..expectation for joy and perfection 

There is an increase in the mental and emotional load.

With nativities, Christmas Fayres, trips to see Santa and social gatherings, not to mention Christmas card writing and present buying and wrapping – it’s a lot.

It can make this time of the year feel like a marathon rather than a celebration.

So here are my top tips for navigating this season without hitting Christmas Day full of a cold or feeling like you’ve been run over by a steamroller!

  1. Set your Christmas Vision

It’s all too easy to get caught up in everyone else’s vision of what Christmas should look and feel like.   The media and movies can hijack our own internal compass of what Christmas truly means to us. Start this season being clear on what you want *your* vision to be like this year. Here’s a friendly reminder that you can leave room for *you* in this vision. 

  1. Create Realistic Expectations:
  • Once you’ve created your vision – run it through the perfection filter.  It’s all too tempting to aim for the perfect holiday season.  The house magazines tell us how perfect our decorations should look.  The style magazines tell us how perfect our Christmas outfits should look….and the list goes on. 
  • The truth is that none of this actually brings us real joy.  We know this, in our hearts, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in our heads.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself and your celebrations. Let’s try to embrace the imperfections and find joy in the genuine moments shared with loved ones.
  1. Embrace the Power of Saying “No”:
  • In the spirit of giving, it’s easy to overcommit and spread yourself too thin. Politely decline invitations or commitments that add unnecessary stress to your plate. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to social events and activities.  Embrace the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and get clear on what brings you JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out).
  1. Create Graceful Boundaries:

Drawing boundaries at this time of year is vital,  Without them, we can be left feeling exhausted, resentful and angry – not a recipe for a happy Christmas.

Proactively set and communicate the boundaries that will keep you in joy and not resentment this Christmas – maybe they are boundaries with work?  Or family?  Or technology?  Or friends?

  1. Design in Micro-Moments of Self-Care

In my ideal Christmas vision, I’d have a spa day a week before Christmas to recharge before the big day.  But the reality is my purse and diary can rarely accommodate this.  Instead of one big recharge day, how about we builld in micro-moments of self-care?  As the build-up to Christmas comes, I realise that I need daily moments of self-care to keep me topped up. What are the micro-moments you need this season?

  1. Delegate and Collaborate:
  • You don’t have to be a one-person holiday planning committee. Share responsibilities with family and friends. Whether it’s meal preparation, decorating, or organising events.  Involving others not only lightens your load but also strengthens the bonds of togetherness during the festive season.
  1. Plan Post-Holiday Downtime:

Anticipate the need for recovery after Christmas Day.  Plan some downtime for yourself in the days following the festivities. Whether it’s a quiet day at home, a leisurely walk, or a cosy movie night.  Having post-holiday respite can help you recharge and transition into the new year with a sense of calm.

I’m entering into this time of year re-thinking the thing that makes Christmas so special.

The ‘thing’ isn’t me buying the perfect presents.

The ‘thing’ isn’t me doing the perfect wrapping.

The ‘thing’s isn’t me making the most wonderful Christmas dinner.

The ‘thing’ isn’t having the perfect-looking house.

The ‘thing’s is me.

The ‘thing’ is me feeling present.

Because the truth is that my family feel my energy.

And in the past my desire to achieve the perfect Christmas I can squeeze the joy out of it.

So, the gift I’m giving myself is the permission to take care of myself in the lead-up to Christmas.  

The gift I’m giving myself this Christmas is loosening my grip on doing Christmas perfectly.

I’m opening my palm and holding Christmas more lightly this year.

I hope these seven tips help you to do the same.


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